Victims of 'horrific' blood scandal will get £100,000 in compensation, Government confirms

·2 min read
The prime minister said the Government was 'taking action to do right' by victims - PA
The prime minister said the Government was 'taking action to do right' by victims - PA

Thousands of survivors of the infected blood scandal will be given compensation payments of £100,000, the Government has confirmed.

Boris Johnson said he wanted the money to be paid to victims and their surviving partners, labelling it the worst treatment disaster in the history of the NHS.

Thousands of NHS patients with haemophilia and other blood disorders were infected with HIV or hepatitis C by contaminated blood products imported from the US in the 1970s and 1980s, with nearly 3,000 dying from the scandal.

Campaigners said the announcement fails to recognise most family members affected by the scandal, who will miss out on this raft of interim payments.

Mr Johnson said today: “We are taking action to do right by victims and those who have lost their partners by making sure they receive these interim payments as quickly as possible.

"We will continue to stand by all those impacted by this horrific tragedy, and I want to personally pay tribute to all those who have so determinedly fought for justice."

Final recommendations from a public inquiry on compensation for a wider group of people are expected next year. The Government said it intends to make payments to those who have been infected and bereaved partners in England by the end of October.

The same payments will be made in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Most of those involved had the blood clotting disorder haemophilia and relied on regular injections of the US product Factor VIII to survive.

They were unaware they were receiving contaminated Factor VIII from people who were paid to donate, including prisoners and drug addicts.

Patients were given the product for years despite repeated warnings at the top of government. New cases of HIV and hepatitis continued to be diagnosed decades after the first contaminations.

Campaigner Sue Threakall, whose husband Bob died aged 47 in 1991 after contracting HIV from contaminated blood, said:

“This is not just about money, it’s about recognition of people whose lives have been destroyed, young adults who have grown up without their parents, and parents whose children died in their arms.

“Their lives could have been better supported.”

Bob Threakall who died aged 47 in 1991 after contracting HIV from contaminated blood - PA
Bob Threakall who died aged 47 in 1991 after contracting HIV from contaminated blood - PA

Mark Fox, 44, from Co Durham, who contracted hepatitis C after being treated with a contaminated blood product for haemophilia as a child, said the announcement represented an acknowledgement of wrongdoing.

“It’s not about compensation, it’s about someone saying sorry. It’s that they tried to hide it.”

The inquiry, which was announced by then-prime minister Theresa May in 2017 and began the following year, has taken evidence from more than 5,000 witnesses during hearings across all four nations of the UK. It is due to conclude next year.